Product Review: RPG Girl Thursday’s New Bag of Holding

NokHoo Laptop Bags

Design: Icarus

Cost: $150*

My Icarus bag, Monday morning.

I’m back from GenCon and absolutely exhausted. That’s not something new. What is new about this year was that I was doing a product review in the field. I started test driving the Icarus before GenCon, taking it with me as I ran pre-con errands and did general running around. It survived a week of this, which included a train trip stuck in a luggage bin, and some long bus rides. There was also walking. So much walking.

Since I’m currently on site doing research for a book, my path to get to GenCon gave it a lengthy adventure in being stuffed into bins. Boot of a cab, under the seat of an airporter shuttle, overhead bins on the flight, layover, under a seat during a flight, and stuffed in a trunk while getting lost trying to find my hotel. I flew in on Wednesday, so I could catch the DJAs, and flew back Monday.

The Icarus on the bag might remind the war games set of the Imperial Aquila in Warhammer 40K. I actually had a few people stop me on the show floor and ask me questions about whether it was a unique rendering of the Aquila during con. Something that’s particularly difficult to see in the photo is that the bird has silver threads throughout the design. Instead of a feminine glittering it’s more of a silver shine. My personal tastes tend towards a middle point between attractive and stark, so I’ve been happy with the bag in particular for that sartorial trait. I have some small colour-perception issues, so for me on the screen the bag looked more towards olive green, but in person it has some blue undertone that helps save it from looking like an unusual army rucksack. I had a small ring on recently that got caught on one of the mesh pockets. The ring was partially destroyed by the experience, but the mesh was not. I’m more impressed by the mesh apparently being indestructible than I am distressed over the jewelry loss.

There’s a pocket on one of the straps that fits my cell phone (Pantech Crossover), that also made a fabulous place to tuck things like flight confirmation papers, business cards, and my inhaler. I can’t fit the inhaler and cell phone at the same time in that pocket, but I can fit the cell phone and a pair of earbuds. C’est la vie. The straps are the most comfortable I’ve had the privilege of trying to destroy, resistant to both my stress testing efforts and several hours of use every day. I didn’t have any of the back pain I usually have with backpacks, which is a very pleasant surprise. Word to the wise: it does not do well dangled off one shoulder. Some backpacks still hang well off one strap, but the Icarus construction makes it unsuited to doing that. It feels weird and heavy and it does unpleasant things to my center of gravity when dangled via on strap.

As for the inner pockets, they got seriously TARDIS on me after awhile. I had to start memorizing where I’d put something based on categories, unless I wanted to spend ten minutes checking every pocket for my sought-after items. There’s a tiny pocket on the front of the bag which I can vouch for being fantastic for business cards, as well as recently developed photos from my Fuji Instax Mini 7S. It did an amazing job of cradling my camera in the padded pocket usually meant for laptops. Inner lining held up well to me dumping pens, pencils, sharp paper, books, medical equipment and anything else I needed to shove in there over the course of GenCon. I ended up picking up a stack of RPGs while at con, so this could double as a GM’s bag with relative ease.

Though it doesn’t have struts or any kind of rigid frame, the shape makes it suited only to wearing on both shoulders, or being carried by the loop. As you can see in my photo, only one piece of the bag took any serious wear from me in the past few weeks. Of the two pen pockets in the front, one has seen some small tearing. Since I purposefully subjected the bag to the sort of wear and tear it would see in a year, I’m willing to guess that most people won’t have issues with that sort of fraying.

In the end: as a gamer/journalist/writer/researcher, this bag gets two thumbs up from me for being exactly what it looks like. The Icarus is a durable, fashionable bag that can survive the sartorial equivalent of the Apocalypse (me). I needed a backpack that could survive my use, and it did so in spades. Now I just need to find a way to keep all my tech and cables organized while inside my bag during PAX.

If you know any tips, tricks or products for wrangling cables and tech, let me know in the comments!

*Bag provided for review by NokHoo.

About l

L is a freelancer currently working as a writer, editor, journalist and game designer. She hauls a suitcase decorated in stickers as she blogs, travels, and tours. She makes her home in Washington, California, and wherever the tour stopped last night. You can follow L on twitter (@lilyorit )

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